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Hardball With Chris Matthews

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Susan Rice 13, Israel 13, America 10, John Mccain 7, Iran 6, Romney 6, Mccain 5, Obama 5, John 5, U.n. 4, Benghazi 4, Nevada 4, John Kerry 3, Clinton 3, Jimmy Carter 3, John Feehery 3, Iowa 3, New York 3, Us 3, Philadelphia 3,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.  (2012)  (CC)  

    November 19, 2012
    11:00 - 12:00am PST  

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"the ed show" is up next. >> mitt romney. kick him when he's down. let's play hardball. good evening. i'm chris matthews in philadelphia. let me start tonight with this -- it used to be the democrats who were nasty to their losers. jimmy carter, walter mondale, mike dukakis, al gore, they all had to skip town to avoid the abuse they faced after losing. the fact is democrats don't forgive candidate who is the loser. they try to erase them from history. they shoot their wounded. but watch what the republicans are doing this very minute. they're taking romney apart like vultures on a wounded antelope. want to make your bones as a prospect for 2016? just take a piece out of the guy
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who went down in 2012. get a piece of romney and wave it in the air. newt gingrich, bobby jindal, they're all doing it. our guests are both msnbc political analysts. howard, i have to tell you, this is something like i've never seen before. let's start with these clips of the sunday talk show circuit. republicans ran with mitt romney remarks that the president had won because of gifts to minorities and young voters. take a look. >> i just think it's nuts. i mean, first of all, it's insulting. this would be like walmart having a bad week and going the customers have really been unruly. i mean, the job of a political leader in part is to understand the people. if we can't offer a better future that is believable to more people, we're not going to win. >> the unfortunate part, and we were just talking about this, i don't know if he understood that he was saying something that was insulting.
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the language, the attitude, the body language, that's whala tinos watch. >> we're in a big hole. we're not getting out of it by comments like that. when you're in a hole, stop digging. he keeps digging. >> it's been well said if you have a political problem when the voters don't like you, but you've got a real problem when the voters think you don't like them. and that is -- mitt romney was picking up the theme he improvidently put before the country inadvertently with his 47% during the campaign. quit despising the american people. >> you know, howard, i always wondered how people became instant experts. didn't the republicans during the campaign notice the phrase "1%" they were defending? didn't they notice the phrase "47%" that was being dismissed? all that time, all that information being thrown at them and they're all saying romney's going to win this, baby, george will said he would, peggy noonan, karl rove said he's going to win it. everybody said he's on a winning campaign strategy, everything's
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working and now they're all instant, i don't know what, st. paul on the road to damascus and that road is crowded, these converts. your thoughts. >> there's a personal tloefl this. the fact is none of the other republicans liked mitt romney and he didn't do anything during the campaign to endear himself to them. he attacked them all in the primaries primaries. this is kind of the revenge of the clowns here. he knocked them off one at a time, sort of knocked them over in iowa and elsewhere along the campaign trail. that's one. two, his campaign was based on the negative, based on the idea he would have to win because president obama was so bad. there was no philosophy to it. mitt romney's campaign was kind of the end of the line of the conservative era that began coherently with ronald reagan in 1980. mitt romney was the ultimate remainder man. that's why they have an easier time of dumping on him right now. >> so the clown car has backed up to run over mitt romney. that's your image for tonight, howard.
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>> yes, it is. >> that woman who didn't like her husband, she drove over the guy in the parking lot a few years back then drove back over him again. i don't want to get involved in that legal case, but i do remember the pictures. let's go to john here. is this the clown cars as howard beautifully put it backing up over the guy that outworked them and won the election even though he's no more or less dorky than they were? your thoughts. >> some of these people are not certifiable clowns who are saying these things about romney. i don't disagree with howard's characterization in general, i do think it's fair to say that part of romney's problem was that he was really always an incredibly bad fit with the republican party at almost every level. he was not most of the things the republican party is today nor is he really much of what the traditional party has been. he was not a considerate comfortable populist or part of the republican establishment in d.c.
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he was an unloved character. the only reason people glommed onto him ever was he was the most electable of a very, very weak field. >> those are the clowns i was referring to. >> of course. of course. but if the only reason the republican party ever had any enthusiasm for him -- and remember in mid-september after the 47% video, a lot of the republican party was ready to abandon him. it was only after the denver debate when it looked he had new life, they all rallied around him. if the only reason people are rallying to you is because they think you're electable, and not because you're good for the party, if you lose, what's left? >> aren't a lot of people in politics engaged because they want something out of it. meal tickets. they showed up because this guy is going to take care of them the rest of their life. you see them election night at headquarters. election night, headquarters are packed with people looking for something from the candidate. i know you're shaking your head there, john. seemed like you saw this with
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dukakis. perfect candidate for the democrats and he lost. but the republicans were always much better at covering their wounded. they'd run -- nixon ran again and again and again. they brought back bob dole 20 year later, always run the familiar names. this time it looks like they're mad at the club. the club itself produced this guy and they don't like him. >> that's right. but this was the last and least of the club, chris. as john was explaining, there was no philosophy whatsoever behind all this. it was pure opportunism, pure i'm in the right place because we have a president at a time of high unemployment so i'm going to win so be with me for no other reason than i'm going to win. there was absolutely nothing else to it. it was naked. so when he loses that's going to make it all the more vehement. i would also say the old sort of royalist republican party where people kind of wait their turn and they train within the party, whether out of ideology or moving up the chain really
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doesn't exist very much anymore. and mitt romney in his own way was in defiance of that because he used his own fund-raising and his own clout with what was left of the establishment to take the nomination when there was nobody else available. >> well said, john. does that mean to you, john, that -- do you agree with that? i sort of do. i think the tea party has shaken up the republican party. the days of another bush are probably over, it won't be a party dying to find the latest guy whose turn it is. >> i think jeb bush if he runs in 2016 will be at the front of the back among potential front-runners. but there's another element here. i think it was ben smith who wrote a piece a couple days ago that made this point. it's almost like romney's become a bad bank. you remember when the banks were failing they were going to create a bad bank where they would put all the toxic assets. you have a party that wants to turn away and knows it needs to reinvent itself. the easiest way to make that pivot is to throw all of the toxicity that's around the
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brand, heap it all on mitt romney, on unloved mitt romney, who they never liked anyway, throw all the bad assets and criticism on top of him and use him to push off against towards some other kind of dmur. i think that's another dynamic driving this. >> i agree with that. he's sort of like the lehman brothers of politics. but that's disingenuous a process because the republicans have a lot more deep thinking to do than just shoving it all onto mitt romney, obviously. >> how about the numbers. can't make a party a success if it salutes the top 1% and trashes the bottom half, the 47%. these numbers are on the table. i disagree with those far right. but for some reason he's good at recognizing that among mitt romney's failings was his inability to connect with voters who aren't solely focused on being tycoons, big-time capitals. he was on "morning joe" making the same point he made in "the new york post" last week. i thought it was a good one.
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>> the problem for mitt romney is they had a theory of the race, which is they needed to run against -- he was going to be the anti-obama. he would be good for business. the problem with such a that i think is if you sent err campaign on business, what happens to people for whom about business is not the central fact of their lives, middle class people who want to work 9:00 to 5:00, their looifs centered on their families, churches, communities, saying what i'm going to do is unleash the dynamic powers of american capitalism doesn't speak to this specific -- >> that's great. >> it turns out, john, that we are not a nation of shop keepers. most of us are lucky to get jobs like i love, like i do, and we've never started a business in our lives, there's a lot of people we look up to in this world. fdr, ike, jack kennedy. never started a business.
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general petraeus never started a business. a lot of people are just lucky to find positions they fit into and serve somebody and get paid for it. the idea i'm a rugged capitalist, now i'm going to get 51% of the vote, turns out there aren't that many people who are ayn rand fans. >> if you're going to have a vibrant economy in america you need both entrepreneurial energy and innovation and all that stuff, but you also need not just entrepreneurs but workers. >> voters. >> the vast majority of those people are not going to be people who start businesses in their garage, not going to start apple or bane. they're going to go out and work for people who start things. if you can't talk to those people and have a vision that encompasses both, the entrepreneurial, animal spirits that make our economy work and also the people who are actually out there just putting in their time and working hard for -- and playing by the rules as bill clinton liked to say, you can't speak to both of those, you won't be able to be a winner or have a governing majority that's
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stable in this country. it's just not possible. >> how are the great swing voters in the country we used to call reagan democrats, more catholics but middle of the road people, who swing right when times are bald and don't like the democrats' current performance, i'm not sure they're all capitalists and run laundries and dry cleaners and shopkeepers. they go to work and come off the shift. >> no. that's right. his critique was two levels, not everybody cares about entrepreneurialism and the abstract theories, and the other part of it is cultural. people want to be left alone to live their lives in relative security with values that they appreciate. and mitt romney, who thought the whole campaign was just about the unemployment rate, even failed at that, because he didn't connect up the entrepreneurial spirit with how it might help the lives of those
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work workaday people. that's something ronald reagan and jack kemp find of figured out how at least to sell a generation ago and this generation of republicans has yet to figure out. >> i guess i was one of the takers with the student loans. i'm one of the 47%. howard fineman, thank you. i think we all went to school on loans. have a nice thanksgiving. coming up, so much has been made of the fact that president obama got only 39% of the white vote in this country. national problem for the president? not really when you realize in deep south mississippi he got about 10%. a lot of his problem is in the south. it's just the historic problem the democratic party, white or black candidates have this problem having a tough time. also the battle for hillary's job. it's getting hot. it's the first big decision president obama has to make since his re-election. it looks like it's between john kerry and u.n. ambassador susan rice. will the president go with the 2004 presidential candidate or his apparent favorite?
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and a report from gaza and the latest on the fighting there that i think could lead to a war with iran. this might be the first stage of that war. talk about the gop's woman problem. in story county, nevada, a republican businessman who employs lots of women just got elected commissioner. the thing is he employs lots of women. it's a brothel.
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another victory for a democrat in a close house race. ron barber, the successor to gabrielle giffords, has won his race in southern arizona. barber defeated martha mcsally. it's barber, the democrat, who has emerged victorious. he was a district director for congresswoman giffords, and he was actually injured during the shooting that nearly killed her. an update from florida in that race between patrick murphy and allen west. murphy's lead over west has
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grown by nearly 300 votes after a recount in st. lucy county, but west is still, unbelievably, refusing to concede. we'll be right back. [ bell ringing ]
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welcome back to "hardball." there's been a lot of focus on the share of the white vote that president obama won in the election. there's an impression they abandoned mr. obama. obama got 39% of the white vote, but it's where that vote came from that tells us so much more. first a look at obama's share of the white vote in southern states. here is where the exit polls we took show a dramatic skewing of the numbers in states like mississippi and alabama. look at the numbers. president obama won only 10% in mississippi, 15% in alabama. in north carolina, a state that's growing more national, he got 31% of the white vote. in florida and virginia, which are very national states, all much closer to national average, he got 37%. you see as you go into the deep south, the old cotton south, it gets more difficult to get the white vote. as you get to the states that are becoming more diverse and more like the united states as a whole, you see the problem is
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not as bad as it was. you look at the midwestern states. here he over performed the national average. in ohio the president got 41%. in michigan, 44%. minnesota and wisconsin he got 48%. iowa he got 51% of the majority in those states. those numbers show white support for the president is heavily influenced by region, particularly in the deep south. joy reid is managing editor of the grio, and john feehery is a republican strategist. i think there were some racial games played by people like donald trump and sununu, but let me tell you, i'm not saying any voters are prejudiced, but i think there's an attitude about federal government policy, resistance to the federal government in the deep south that goes across lines like being more supportive of tough defense, very much against bureaucracy. somewhat still populist but also resident in all fairness to the civil rights area. the deep south didn't like democrats long before obama came along. they particularly don't like him. >> i think that's absolutely true. you have seen the republican
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party increasingly become a southern party. look, you hear when you look at people in the south, the rhetoric is about statism. it's tenth amendment stuff. it's all this idea of the federal government overreaching, and there was a lot of sort of pro-confederate revisionism you heard coming out of even the tea party movement, and i think the tea party was also mainly a southern movement. so you definitely had a resistance not just to this president but democrats in general, and then you layer on and i think you add the issue of race and, you know, like it or not, i think that had to be a part of it, too. but for certain barack obama's white working class firewall was in these more unionized states in the midwest. that's where he had a base. >> i think unions are a good force against that prejudice because they encourage you to vote by your economic interests, not your tribe, if you will. john feehery, i'm looking at this history. if you look back, jimmy carter, for example, look at this, the
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'64 election, let's start with this. it's a great historic lesson tonight. in the '64 election with lyndon johnson, the last time the democrats got half the white vote, since then jimmy carter also a man of the south, he got 48% of the white. since then democrats have ranged from a low of 34% with mondale in '84 to a high of 44% with clinton in '96. barack obama got 43%. the second highest number since carter. this year he got 39% of the white vote, only slightly below the 40.6% share for democrats over the years. the democrats are running 2 out of 5 white votes. obama is very close to that with a particular skewing against him in the deep south. what do you make of it? >> well, i would just disagree with this idea that the gop is a regional party. if you look at all of those states, iowa, wisconsin, ohio, michigan, and pennsylvania, they were all -- had republican governors. mitt romney is from massachusetts. he did well in the south, which
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is no surprise as you pointed out. republicans have done well in the south since '64. his problem in the midwest and upper midwest is he was kind of a lousy candidate. he didn't do what he had to do. he didn't connect with working class voters, and that's a real problem, but republicans have connected with working class voters, and they did two years ago, and i think they will continue to do that in the elections to come. >> why did that take -- let me go to something in the rhetoric. you can read it both your own ways. romney kept saying -- we have a little montage. we're going to take back america, take back america. i have to live with the fact that the dallas cowboys are america's team. i don't know how they got the name, but they got it. how did he get to be the american candidate? who named him that? >> that's a frequent thing in politics. >> i never heard obama say take back america. >> you know, this is not that unfamiliar. the idea we're going to take back the white house, restore america, renew america, hope and change, whatever you want to call it. the team that's out of politics
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-- out of power wants to take back power. i don't think that's racially motivated. i think it's ridiculous to think it is. >> but you know what, john? look at the tea party's rhetoric. that's where this take back america stuff started. these were people looking at the colonial period as the idyllic period in the american history before you had unions and racial integration. that sort of america in which african-americans were three-fifths of a person. that was the era they saw as idyllic. to your point about 2010, let's not compare apples to oranges. what's in midterms is minority voters and younger voters stay home. sure, you can win a pennsylvania or an ohio or a michigan in an off-year election when basically white voters are the ones coming to the polls. when you add the ethnic dimension and younger voters, it becomes harder for republicans -- >> i think that's ridiculous. >> let's get away from the ethnic for a second. talk about this, john feehery. i just watched "lincoln" last
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night. so it's all over my head with thaddeus stevens. tommy lee jones steals the movie. it's an amazing part. and daniel day-lewis is fabulous. nobody as good as tommy lee jones in this movie. anyway, you talk about the tenth amendment in the south, why is the tenth amendment, which reserves powers to the states, so much an issue with republicans? why do they love that tenth amendment so much? is sounds like the civil war to me. your thoughts. >> my thought is i would prefer to talk about things not constitutional arguments, but the tenth amendment movement is about the federal government is screwing up and we want to have -- spend less of our money and spend more of our money back home. there is a tenth amendment saying that what is not reserved -- not defined in the constitution is reserved to the states and the states should take care of it. the idea that the government locally can do the best job for the american people. that's a constitutional argument. i think it can be a good argument, but i don't think it necessarily -- those type of constitutional arguments work with voters, especially in the vast middle where they want you
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to solve practical problems. >> i think the tenth amendment could be used. i look at the way the states are running their election laws. every time they rewrite them, it's to screw the minorities or the democrats. i go, yeah, that's why they want to run everything at the state level. they're not particularly competent in the way they do these things. your thought, joy. every time i hear the tenth amendment, i hear civil war because it says we don't trust washington, we're going to do it at the state level. that seems to be a southern thing more than northern. >> and you have that bastion of southern states and governors that want to run medicaid however they want to do it, but in a lot of cases that means spending less money on their poor. these tend to be poorer states ironically enough. there's a competency issue in how they're running public education, which tends to be poorer in mississippi than in massachusetts or new york. and issues when it comes to medicaid and the way those states are running. they have disproportionately more poor. it's very interesting that the states that want more power devolving to them are the states that tend to need more help from the federal government and, in fact, they get more help from
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the federal government than taxes they put in. i think the union dimension is important. if you look at the states that have something like 14% and above union membership, barack obama did very well in them and democrats did very well in them. look at the sort of attempts to push back the union movement. it has definite consequences for democrats' ability to win election on the ground. they have the money, the ground troops, and the loyalty of working class white voters. >> let's talk about the future now, future elections for president. john, you will be doing this for years ahead. let's talk about the fights. the share of the electorate made up by white voters, has been more republican, has been in steady decline. in 1992, it was 87% of the electorate. dropped three points each year. now it's down to 72%. how does the republican party rebuild itself so they get 51%? imagine trying to get 51% of the whole out of that 72%. you would have to get 5/7 of the vote if you only relied on white voters. it's not that bad, but it's close.
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>> obviously long term the republicans can't just rely on the white vote. they can't afford to lose 80/20 with african-americans and hispanic voters and asian americans, that's just not doable. i think the conservative philosophy is not the problem. we have a cultural issue. the republican party has to be more inviting to all ethnic groups. they haven't been particularly inviting. you have people on the right, the shock jocks, the talk radio guys who have the racial code words which are outrageous. as a party culturally we have to be much more inviting and make sure we communicate and then have policies that for all americans as every republican has been saying since the election. passing immigration reform is not necessarily going to solve the problem, but it's a one step in the right way. >> your party has had success there before. the guy is named abraham lincoln and as recently as nelson rockefeller did very well with african-americans, and george w.
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bush did extremely well with hispanics. it has to do with personality, too. do you like a lot of different kinds of people are kind of narrow in your thinking. >> i think that's right. i think mitt romney just did not connect with a lot of folks. he didn't connect with a lot of white working close voters either, and that was a real problem. >> but john it's tone -- >> we got to go. i'm sorry, joy. joy, you're fabulous, we have to go. you will be back soon. up next, new jersey governor chris christie is getting a lot of mileage out of that fleece sweatshirt he's always wearing. i am not into this, but i will find a way into it. people were making fun of it, and this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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back to "hardball." now to the "sideshow." first up, chris christie goes on "snl." the new jersey governor made an appearance on "weekend update" to comment on storm recovery as well as that governor christie fleece jacket he seems to like
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wearing. >> how is cleanup going? >> so far so good, seth, but this isn't a job that's going to be done in a couple days. fortunately, new jerseyans are known for their patience. >> they are? >> yes, they are. >> oh. >> how many times do i have to say it to you? >> you only said it once. i feel like we're getting off on the wrong foot. >> not at all, seth. trust me, this is a totally normal foot for me to get off on with people. i was worried i was going to come out here and get angry with you, but this is nice. >> well, good. i also think this is nice. >> oh, my god, what is this, a first date? >> i'm sorry. you have been wearing that fleece a lot. >> it's basically fused to my skin at this point. >> i have seen you wearing suits. >> i wear them over the fleece. i'm going to die in this fleece. but that's okay. it's a good fleece. >> it is a good fleece. >> stop saying things i've already said! >> all right, okay. more for the late night scene. i was on "the tonight show" on friday to do some post-election analysis. i talked to jay leno about my personal highlight of every
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election night. it might surprise you. my favorite part is the concession speeches. i just love it when they come out because the newscaster can make a statement, everybody has their opinion, but when the loser comes out and just walks out -- i love -- i think it was the best thing he ever did in his life, romney. >> i thought -- >> walked out to -- out to the lip of the stage all by himself, not with his wife or kids, all by himself, and he said i was just on the phone with the president. i congratulated him. i'm going to pray for him. i had the best running mate i could have, the best team around me. no complaints, no dodging the ball. it's like sinatra said, class. just class. if only romney had stopped there instead of spoiling that classy moment by talking about gifts. that obama gave to voters as a way to get re-elected. next, on the surface it sounds like a nonstory, successful nevada businessman, a job creator, a guy who employs dozens of people gets elected county commissioner. here's the kicker. republican lance gilman, the
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newly elected county commissioner of nevada's story county happens to be the owner of mustang ranch. that's right, the infamous brothel out there. nevada, just to clear things up, is the only state with legalized prostitution, and gilman just became the first such owner to make his way to winning an election of public office. according to the county commissioner-elect himself, people want to focus on the brothel issue. i have had a wonderful 43 year record of business success that i bring to the commission. it is kind of a hard issue to ignore. gilman, by the way, calls himself a dyed in the wool republican who loves american values. finally, last week steve schmidt said on "meet the press" that a lot of swing voters think of the republican party as one of loons and wackos. this is a republican talking. mike murphy, another republican strategist, just weighed in on "meet the press." here he is. >> this is an existential crisis for the republican party, and we have to have a brutal discussion about it. we alienate young voters because of gay marriage, we alienate latinos, the fastest growing
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group in the country, because of our fetish on so-called amnesty, and we've lost our connection to middle class economics. we have an operative class which isn't competent. we have to get a party view of america that's not out of rush limbaugh's dream journal. >> well said. up until election night these experts were predicting a romney victory. they should go down with the ship, the "titanic" in fact, instead of putting on dresses so they can get in the lifeboats. how did that sound? up next, replacing hillary clinton. president obama's choice may come down to john kerry or susan rice. will the president go with the 2004 democratic presidential candidate or his apparent favorite? this is "hardball," the place for politics.
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we're back. according to some reports, the president could name a successor to hillary clinton as early as next week. i think it could come this week. it's a decision fraught with risk. "the new york times" reported yesterday that the white house aides say the president's favored candidate is susan rice, the current ambassador to the u.n. but republicans like senator john mccain and lindsey graham have threatened to filibuster her nomination thanks to her
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appearances on tv following the benghazi attacks. would the president risk starting off his second term with a decision that would likely lead to a bitter confrontation fight? richard wolffe is vice president and executive editor of msnbc.com. he's also an msnbc political analyst. and jay newton-small is a diplomatic correspondent for "time." richard, i want to get your sense of the president's thinking here. now, i think the most successful thing he ever did in terms of policy or personnel was naming hillary clinton, the senator from new york and former first lady, to be his secretary of state because he established a second principal out there besides himself in foreign policy. he could let her lead the way as his partner, a minister, a foreign minister. not a staffer, she had her own stature apart from him. that's my preference. you need that creative tension, and second terms die when the president gets too comfortable
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with the people around him because he's promoted them from within. i look at all the recent presidents that have screwed up that way. you know my prejudice, and i hope it doesn't get in the way of my feelings towards these candidates. what do you think is going on in the president's head right now based upon the influences of mrs. clinton, valerie jarrett, and other people in the white house? >> susan rice has been a preferred candidate for a long time, and susan rice has -- i take where your question is going, but she's had a foot in both worlds as a trusted member of that inner circle who was there very early on in terms of the obama campaign, but she's also proved herself on this world stage, which is what the u.n. job really is. when you think about the sanctions against iran, she's been pushing ahead with that. when you think about the air war in terms of the support for the rebels in libya, which apparently people like john mccain do say they care about, she was instrumental in that. and then even the harder piece of diplomacy, bridging the gap between the obama world and the clinton world because she has worked very well with hillary clinton.
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susan rice has the whole package there. to kind of suggest she's a staff person really doesn't get to her credentials. >> i think she did one other thing besides that, that very finesseful way in which she handled the push by the palestinians for statehood. >> good point. >> somehow she pushed back very successfully on that. so what's your sense though? you're a political reader like i am, richard. who is he going to pick if you had to bet right now? >> i think it's susan rice. there is the question about john kerry, but i think now that john mccain has sunk his teeth in, he's made it about presidential authority, and, frankly, it's outrageous that there is this witch hunt going on the right about these people of color, let's face it, around this president. eric holder, valerie jarrett, now susan rice. before it was van jones. this is not about who is hawkish in the same way john mccain is about foreign policy because if you look at iran and libya, susan rice checks those boxes. this is a personal vendetta -- >> so you think mccain is being -- mccain and people like lindsey graham, mccain, who had
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his own daughter attacked, was accused of having an illegitimate child when he adopted a young girl from south asia, you're saying that mccain's being driven by racial prejudice here? >> there is no other way to look at this because look at her foreign policy and, by the way, look at what john mccain said about condi rice's nomination. we're running this story on the front page of the msnbc website right now. back then four years -- eight years ago, john mccain said the people -- the elements who were questioning condi rice's credentials, they were engaged with bitterness, they needed to move on. why has he changed his tune? what is it about susan rice? and the answer is there aren't any good foreign policy explanations for it. >> let me go to jay on this question. jay, what do you read as the issues here for the president and his personal decision? it's a huge decision he has to make in the space of a week now it looks like. >> it is a huge decision. whomever he nominates will be number four in line for the oval office in case anything happens to the president or the vice president or the speaker.
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you want somebody with gravitas, somebody who is tested and who, you know, can -- you feel comfortable with in trusting not only the nation but your foreign policy but potentially the nation as well. so in that sense hillary clinton certainly fit the bill for the job, and they're hoping that susan rice would fit the bill for the job. keep in mind these five interviews she did on the morning shows were essentially a tryout for her. she was trying to prove herself to the president, and in that sense, as you were saying earlier, she sort of stuck to the talking points. and i know it's unfair to get pilloried for sticking to the talking point, but do you want someone who will think for themselves or do you want someone -- she was trying to show she would be a good soldier and do what you wanted her to do, and she did that and that got her into a lot of trouble. if she thought perhaps a little more independently, questioned the talking points, read the intelligence herself, she might have answered these questions differently or spoken differently on the shows. >> richard, you disagree.
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you say she would be an autonomous member of the cabinet, she would be a separate principal with her own stature, would not be someone who would do something that tom donnelly would send over the notes and she would do it. you don't see her as that kind of appendage. >> let's look at benghazi itself, okay? if she were someone who just followed everyone else's orders, she would not have been one of the leading voices along with hillary clinton to support the rebels in benghazi and protect the civilians there. john mccain knows that full well. senator mccain knows full well there was cia engagement not just with these talking points but with the actual operation around the ambassador in benghazi. everyone knows what the real story is behind here in terms of the operation, in terms of susan rice's independence, and if you want to take a sunday show talking points performance as the measure of a secretary of state, you're on very thin ground in terms of how anyone for any position could get nominated in the future. >> let me follow this thinking here.
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who is going to take the bullet for what looked to be the failure to protect chris stevens? who is going to take the bullet for what looks to be a misrepresentation in real time as to what happened? who is going to pay the price? >> certainly -- >> first of all, jay, go first. >> i think certainly republicans want it to be susan rice. they're essentially calling for her scalp. and you had white house press secretary jay carney out there at the same time going even farther than rice was and talking about how this was all just due to a protest and not really -- not having much to do with terrorism, and they're not calling for his scalp because he is essentially a spin doctor, and it's not the scalp they want. they want somebody in policy and somebody who will draw blood from the obama administration, and that is susan rice. >> that sounds like richard. thank you, richard wolffe, thank you jay newton-small. you agree on that point. they wanted scalp. up next, how close is the middle east to an all-out regional war? is israel headed to a war with iran? i see a possible precursor to a war with iran.
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the latest on the fight between israel and hamas coming up next. this is interesting and scary. the place for politics. we'll be right back.
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president. we can always use good examples. he showed it. go out and get a copy. christmas shopping starts with a great biography filled with stuff about kennedy you've never read before. i can tell you that. we'll be right back..
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>> ahead of what seem fear could be a ground invasion. where do things stand and why is
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this happening now? does it have anything to do with a potential strike? richard engel joins us now. talking to blogger tom ricks about whether a potential strike on iran has anything to do with the fighting going on right now. >> some people think that what this is about is in preparation for a likely war with iran, israel testing the rockets that would be fired against it from gaza. so we may something with lebanon soon. it's a preliminary. this is a warm-up round for the real conflict ahead. >> you really think there's a chance that israel would strike iran and try to take out those nuclear? >> yes. especially given the time of the gaza thing.
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now they are getting down to business after the election. >> i guess that's the question that calls for some speculation, but is it possible that benjamin netanyahu has decided the best way to deal with iran is to get involved in a hot war and then obviously iran's role going for the source of the problem and bombing them as part of a hot war situation. >> reporter: it does require some speculation, but it also requires some analysis. and i think it makes a lot of sense. if you look at this, israel really picked the timing. israel could have gone into a war with hamas and found its rocket launchers. buzz it chose to do it now. israel has been testing its iran dome defense systems, which would come into play if there was a war with iran. it's been testing the new middle east, testing egypt's stance, forming new relations.
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seeing how volatile the arab world is. it's been testing hezbollah. and president obama immediately threw his lot in with israel. the president didn't say we want to call for cessation of hostilities. he immediately said we agree with israel's right to defend itself. israel's real enemy is iran. they were at the u.n. holding up his bomb chart. he was talking about iran. that is israel's overriding threat. they have been able to deal with them handedly. i have seen yesterday israeli warships able to take out a single hamas militant who was sitting in a chair by the water front. so one warship fired a rocket. you could barely ship on the horizon. israel has been telephoning the houses of neighbors of militants and telling them to get out.
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it has their phone numbers. so there's something suspicious. israel has too much intelligence. they have been able to deal with them too confidently. you have to wonder is there really a different objective. >> could it be better for israel to get rid of the missile sites in hamas before they attack iran? therefore, they can't be used for retaliation? >> reporter: that's an extra bonus. you get to defend your own cities. you figure out how well the iron dome system works, which is an untested system. you set back hamas's capabilities. you test your own intelligence and the arab world. that was the great unknown. how would egypt react? and so far, there has been a degree of calm and morsi, although he's been sympathetic, which is something the israelis
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knew he would be, has proven to be an actor. >> therefore, they would be reacting to an aggressive action by the iranians and not initiating. it makes sense for me. thank you. richard engel over in gaza. we'll be right back. ♪ [ male announcer ] the way it moves. the way it cleans. everything about the oral-b power brush is simply revolutionary. oral-b power brushes oscillate, rotate and even pulsate to gently loosen and break up that sticky plaque with more brush movements than manual brushes and even up to 50% more than leading sonic technology brushes for a superior clean. oral-b power brushes. go to oralb.com for the latest offers.
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let me finish tonight with this. i spent sunday watching the philadelphia marathon.
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if you haven't witnessed this, you're missing something great about this country. talk about getting engaged. 28,000 people ran the race through the city. they ranged from the winner who runs 13 miles an hour to the gutsy amateur who ran for 22 miles. just as impressive are the people on the sidelines cheering on strangers. just because they want to keep them keep on running. there were all kinds of people. the runners would yell out thanking people for just showing up to encourage them. we're known for being tough fans when it comes to professional sports. i can tell you stories. even throw snowballs at santa clause. but the people of philly and those from around the country were doing something magnificent. we're in this thing together. we're not afraid to yell ourselves silly.

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